Where are the Best Candidates? Outside, living their lives.

December 28th, 2011 | Hiring Resources | No Comments »

So you have an open position on your hands. You want people who know how to get the job done, love what they do, and get along with your existing team. You’re ready to offer them the best salary and benefits you can get your hands on. But have you considered this: The best candidate also loves their life outside of work.

By now, most candidates have realized that “hobbies and interests” have no place on a resume, but in the chaos of the hiring process, this can make it all the easier to forget they have them at all. No doubt you’ve already heard all the hype and buzz about work-life balance. But the truth is, the lack of balance is still one of the biggest reasons people quit their jobs. And, given the current competitive candidate pool, it might just be the reason your best candidate rejects your job offer in favor of another.

What difference does it make?

We’re not just talking about rejected job offers and resignations. Implementing work-life balance policies in your workplace can provide inescapable benefits to each and every employee.

Have you ever lamented your team’s productivity for the week? Flinched at their lack of friendly customer service? Granted yet another sick day to someone who didn’t seem all that sick? Or maybe even caught an unenergetic employee with their head down on their desk?

They may not be quitting on you, but these employees aren’t being the best workers they could be – and it’s not necessarily their fault.

The benefits of a great work-life balance for each employee come in many shapes and sizes. Put just one policy in place, and you’ll see more energized team members who are more productive, more motivated to improve their skills, and more excited to serve their customers and clients.

Ultimately, it’s a simple equation. An employee who has more balance between their work and life is happier and more satisfied with their job. And an employee who is more satisfied with their job will perform better on than job than someone who’s dissatisfied, unhappy, and burned out.

The shapes and sizes of balance

Traditionally, the extent of a “work-life balance” policy is a couple weeks of vacation and a handful of sick days. In today’s workplace, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is just not enough.

While the perks of work-life balance policies vary far and wide and can get very creative, you don’t have to be excessive to be effective.

The most simple form of balance that’s popping up in many workplaces is flexible scheduling. This includes flexible hours – such as 7-3 or 10-7 instead of your typical 9-5 hours – as well as telecommute options, compressed work weeks to create longer weekends, and even job sharing.

You might be nervous to let your employees choose their own hours or telecommute on occasion, but you’ll be surprised what a huge, positive difference it will make.

Other popular balance policies take the form of support services, such as childcare or health and wellness programs. Whether it’s full support, discounts, or simply extra time, it’s a solid gesture that you care.

Finally, many companies are focusing on the career path for their employees, through tuition reimbursement options, continued training, and mentors. This ensures their employees don’t get burned out in a rut.

Whatever you choose to implement towards your employee’s work-life balance, research your options first to find the one that works best for your company and its employees.

Making balance practical

Before you figure out what policies you’ll implement, make sure you first know your staff and what they need.

The only time money is wasted on implementing a work-life balance policy is when you neglect to evaluate the needs of your people first.

For example, there’s little point in providing free gym memberships if your employees aren’t the kind to appreciate it. Maybe they’d prefer a weekly telecommute day or even free fruit in the kitchen instead of those donuts you keep splurging on.

Instead of assuming their preferences, find out about their lifestyles and needs first. Conduct a survey if you have to, or simply offer them a variety of options to choose from.

Ultimately, when you make the move to provide better balance for your team members, you and your company will be quickly rewarded with greater productivity, performance, and company loyalty. And hey – let your best candidates know about your work-life benefits, and they’ll be much more likely to become your newest employee.